The tensions between China and the United States flare-up. After Donald Trump accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of “chinesecentric” and freezes his budget allocation to the institution on the ground that it has “hidden and improperly managed the importance of the expansion of the coronavirus,”. The Beijing government announced on Thursday that it will expand its funding for the WHO by $ 30 million, at a time when the organization has asked for 1,000 million dollars more to reinforce its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already infected more than 2,678,385 people and that has left behind more than 184,659 deaths worldwide, according to data provided by ‘Bloomberg’.
“At this crucial moment, supporting the WHO is supporting multilateralism and global solidarity,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on the social network Twitter. Furthermore, the rapid expansion of the coronavirus has made the United States the main affected by the pandemic, with more than 846,982 diagnosed cases and 46,785 deaths. The country is also in a moment of confrontation between the Central Administration and the governors of the different states over the measures to be taken to stop the pandemic, while the protests against confinement and social distancing have followed in recent weeks, encouraged by the most conservative wing of the Republican Party.
The Chinese response comes after Trump accused the WHO of allying with the “misinformation” of the Xi Jinping government, according to Reuters, and doubting the real origin of the virus, whose patient zero left Wuhan city late last year. However, the first communication received by the President of the United States about the appearance of a possible pandemic outbreak in Wuhan took place on January 3, while the first case detected on US soil took place in the middle of that month.
During one of his regular appearances last week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom lamented the decision of the United States and “the President’s decision to order the suspension of funding to WHO.” In addition, he recalled that the The organization’s work transcends the protocols against the spread of the pandemic. “With the support of the people, we work to improve the health of many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people,” he admitted, affirming that “we are also working to address polio, measles, malaria, Ebola, HIV, tuberculosis, malnutrition, cancer, diabetes, mental health, and many other diseases and conditions.”
The United States is (was) one of the main funders of the WHO; in 2019, the Trump government contributed 400 million dollars to the organization’s budget, which represents 15% of the total. For this reason, Adhanom recalled that “the United States has been an old and generous friend of the WHO, and we hope that it continues to be so.” A wish that, for the moment, could not be fulfilled. That is why, in his appearance on Wednesday, Adhanom expressed his hope that the Trump administration would reconsider his decision. “I hope the United States believes that this money is a significant investment, not only to help others but to keep the United States safe.”
For the WHO, the freezing of funds is a notable setback, since its total budget is $ 5,840 million and the annual US contribution is double that of the Chinese Government. Trump announced that he will review his decision in six to nine months, because the president also needs to have the approval of Congress on this matter first.